Intro. God created men and women different, that seems like a stupid thing to say and indeed it is. But there are voices today that are trying to say that we are alike and on equal par with each other.
A. The woman in the scripture is referred to as the weaker vessel.
1. Physiologically it is quite obvious that the man is stronger than the woman.
2. Our emotional make up is different.
a. Men are much coarser than the woman.
b. The woman has a much finer temperament.
1. The man says, "I'm hungry."
2. The woman says, "I'm starving to death."
3. She is more apt to respond emotionally than a man. That is why under the law a father or a husband could break a vow that his daughter or wife had made.
B. It was God who created us with these differences and when He made the rules for marriage He took these differences into account.
I. "WIVES SUBMIT YOURSELVES UNTO YOUR OWN HUSBAND AS UNTO THE LORD."
Remember the context is "submitting yourselves one to another."
A. This is a subject that no doubt will immediately develop controversy.
1. We in the Western world are living in an age of the woman's liberation.
2. Some go so far as to say that the Bible must be interpreted according to the culture of the days in which it was written.
B. It is interesting that this teaching by Paul concerning marriage relationships was a radical departure from the culture of his day.
1. The morning prayer of the Jewish man had a phrase thanking God that he was not a slave, a Gentile or a woman.
a. The woman had no rights, she was considered the property of her husband, after all he bought her from her father.
b. He could divorce her for almost any cause, but she had no right of divorce except if her husband became an apostate, a leper or engaged in a disgusting trade.
2. In the Greek world prostitution was considered a necessity of life. It was said that every man should have a courtesan for the sake of pleasure, a concubine for daily cohabitation, and a wife to bear his legitimate children. She was expected to run the house, bear the legitimate children, but he was to find his pleasure elsewhere. There were no laws prohibiting divorce thus it was just by whim.
3. In Rome divorce was so common that Seneca said, "Women were married to be divorced and divorced to be married." They dated their years by the names of their husbands.
B. The teaching of a wife's submission to her husband however goes way back to the beginning. In Genesis 3
as God is pronouncing His judgment upon Eve for her sin He said,
I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
1. Note that God said, "Her desire shall be to her husband, and he shall rule over her."
C. This concept is carried all through the Bible.
1. We find in the book of Esther the near panic of the men when Queen Vashti refused to perform for her husband the King.
And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that [are] in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.
For [this] deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not.
[Likewise] shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus [shall there arise] too much contempt and wrath.
If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.
And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.
2. This story has nothing to do with Biblical injunctions of a wife's submission to her husband, but shows the fear men have of women taking over.
3. You see when God made man He knew that man had this need be in control and to dominate. He being the stronger felt the responsibility to be the protector and provider.
D. Paul referring to a practice in the early church when they followed the pattern of the Jewish synagog in the men sitting on one side and the women on the other, and sometimes the woman calling across the room to her husband for clarification of a particular issue commanded the women to keep silence in the church.
For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1. Note they are required to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
E. Paul to the Colossians said,
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
1. Here is a condition, "As it is fit in the Lord." If it is not fit in the Lord, she is under no obligation to submit.
a. During the hippie era we had cases where unbelieving husbands were demanding their wives to prostitute their bodies that the husband might buy drugs.
b. In those cases as Peter said, "We must obey God rather than man."
F. To the Corinthians Paul declared,
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.
1. I believe that there is a definite chain of command described here, and that if a link of the chain is broken you must jump over that link.
2. i.e. If a husband is not subject to Christ and is making unchristian demands upon his wife, she must then skip that link and be subject unto Jesus.
G. Paul said to Titus that the older women were to teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
H. Peter commanded,
Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
II. PAUL GOES ON TO SAY IN VERSE 23, "FOR THE HUSBAND IS THE HEAD OF THE WIFE EVEN AS CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH AND THE SAVIOR OF THE BODY."
A. The word head means the authority over. Christ is the authority over His church and it is the model for the home, the husband in subjection to Christ is to be the authority over the home.
B. This seems to be the clear, consistent teaching of the scriptures and to follow this rule will bring peace and tranquillity into the home.
III. SO AS THE CHURCH IS SUBJECT TO CHRIST, SO LET THE WIVES BE TO THEIR OWN HUSBANDS IN ALL THINGS.
A. Don't stop, "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it."
B. Next week we will be teaching the husbands how to transform their wives from a tigress to a kitten.